Monday 18 December 2017

Schmidt hoping he can convince BOD to continue career

New Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt has said that he will put "pressure" on Brian O'Driscoll to continue playing for Leinster and Ireland next season.

O'Driscoll will wait until July, after the Lions tour to Australia, to make a decision on whether enough or not to retire.

BOD has continually stated that he has learned more off Schmidt in the past three seasons than off any other coach in his career.

One of the early tests of Schmidt's tenure will be convincing the 34 year old to continue his playing career.

"He has put some pressure on me and I'd like to put a bit of pressure on him. We put a few plants in the crowd to start those chants," Schmidt said, referring to the chants of "one more year" from the Leinster fans after O'Driscoll's try against Biarritz on Saturday.

"He is his own man, he'll make his decision, but that doesn't stop you pushing him. I'd love to see him named tomorrow and hopefully that's a continuation of a stellar career."

Schmidt is looking forward to the different dynamic and challenges international coaching poses.

"I think playing week to week, you're so focused on that you bypass what happened last week and you are re-energised, but if you play three games and then you have three months to reflect it is hopefully positive, but if it not, then it is something to work on," he added.

"It is a step into the unknown, but it is highly motivating for me and hopefully that will be borne out."

"That window is fairly suffocating, there is a bit of trepidation there. But I have gained a bit of confidence from working with the incredibly motivated squad and staff at Leinster. I'm impressed by the other provinces."

The two-time Heineken Cup winning coach revealed that he never wished to be a head coach but enjoyed his time with Leinster and is looking forward to his new challenge with Ireland.

Asked about the current form of the Irish team, Schmidt said: "We were a bit the same at Leinster, when you have injuries you have compromise. I sympathise with recent performance, results are mitigated by the injuries. Look at the way Munster have recharged themselves, for Leinster it's the same.

"I'm hoping for an injury free period, to gather the collective together and put out the performances that support deserve."

Press Association

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